x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Entrepreneurs devote business skills to the environment

Young Emirati students take part in a one-day workshop on entrepreneurship.

The UAEU students, from left, Fatima Hashem al Kaabi, Noura Khalifa al Kaabi, Hessa Hasan al Turkumani, Alaa K J Farjallah and Nouf al Qadi at the workshop in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Ravindranath K / The National
The UAEU students, from left, Fatima Hashem al Kaabi, Noura Khalifa al Kaabi, Hessa Hasan al Turkumani, Alaa K J Farjallah and Nouf al Qadi at the workshop in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // Nouf al Qadi hopes one day to help her country's environment by creating her own business.

The 18-year-old Emirati environmental biology student said she wanted to help the development of a sustainable environment through the construction of green buildings and increased recycling.

"I hope to expand my business ideas for my country," said Ms al Qadi, who studies at United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain. "I want to give back to the community my own way." She was one of 45 UAEU students taking part in a one-day workshop on entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

The workshop was organised by Injaz, a member of the business education charity Junior Achievement Worldwide, and the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development. Over the next three years the workshops are expected to encourage more than 4,000 13 to 24-year-olds to build their own businesses.

Sara Awad Salim Albadi, a 19-year-old Omani food science student at UAEU, said that after gaining experience in a private sector job, she plans to set up her own company as a food scientist.

"We need to be healthy and learn about new ways of improving food quality," she said.

Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed, chairman of Injaz UAE, said young Emiratis should be encouraged to think beyond government jobs, while contributing to their community and exploring their own potential.

Three programmes will run in 20 schools and universities in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain over the next three years - an "entrepreneurship masterclass" for 12 to 15-year-olds, a "You Can b!" innovation camp for students at college and in their early years of university, and a "junior achievement company programme" for college, university and beyond.

Sheikh Khaled said he hoped that all three programmes would be a success, saying that in previous years 30 per cent of students who took part in the junior achievement company programme went on to start their own ventures - "as opposed to three to four per cent of the general population".

About 100 volunteers from the private sector take part in the programmes, sharing knowledge and expertise. Students learn how to start a company, including preparing business plans and dealing with investors.

cmalek@thenational.ae